April 24, 2015
Luke 4:18, 19; Isaiah 61:1, 2
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Here are the two scriptures from which Jesus stated His powerful mission statement:
Luke 4:18, 19 – The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to
preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to
preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at
liberty those who are oppressed, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Isaiah 61:1, 2 – The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the LORD has
anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the
brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the
prison to those who are bound, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord,
and the day of vengeance of our God….
A question comes to mind: If Jesus was quoting Isaiah 6:1 and 2 in Luke 4:18 and 19, why are there differences between the two? For instance, where the Lord read in Luke 4:18, “He has sent Me…to preach… recovery of sight to the blind…” – this phrase is not in the Isaiah passage. The explanation is two-fold:
• Jesus may have been quoting partially from the Septuagint translation (often abbreviated as LXX). ‘Septuagint’ derives its name in Latin from the 70 (or 72) translators who accomplished this Greek translation between 300 and 200 BC in Alexandria, Egypt. It was especially for the Hellenistic Jews scattered throughout the Roman Empire who were beginning to lose their Hebrew language skills.
The LXX translates Isaiah 61:1 and 2, adding this phrase which is not in the Hebrew scriptures: “…and recovery of sight to the blind…” – exactly what Jesus stated in Luke 4:18!
• Another explanation is this, from the website kjvtoday.com:
Jesus was expounding Isaiah 61:1 by providing his targum (a paraphrase). New
Testament scholar Craig A. Evans states as follows: ‘Jesus cites in a synagogue
…what appears to be a passage from Isaiah 61, but it turns out to be a mixture of
several passages or themes from the book of Isaiah….’ Jesus incorporated Isaiah
42:7 into his reading of Isaiah 61:1 in order to provide a helpful cross-reference
to the phrase, “opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1).
Isaiah 42:6-7 says, “I the LORD have called you…to open blind eyes, to bring
out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house
….” They both refer to a person coming out of spiritual darkness and bondage.
Thus Jesus read Isaiah 42:7 into Isaiah 61:1. Well-studied fellow Jews in the
Synagogue would have understood that Jesus was ‘cross- referencing’ Isaiah
42:7 from Isaiah 61:1 because Isaiah 42:7 expands the meaning of ‘opening
of the prison’ in Isaiah 61:1.
• What about the fifth phrase of our study, recorded in Luke 4:18? – “…and recovery of sight to the blind….” In the Gospels, three occasions stand out where Jesus healed four different people of blindness:
Matthew 20:30-34 (in Jericho) – …two blind men…cried out, saying, “Have mercy
on us, O Lord, Son of David….” So Jesus…called them, and said, “What
do you want Me to do for you? ” They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes
may be opened.” So Jesus…touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes
received sight, and they followed Him.
Mark 8:22-25 (a two-stage healing!) – Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought
a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind
man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his
eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he
looked up, and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” Then He put His hands
upon his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored, and saw
John 9:5-7 – “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When He
had said these things, He spat on the ground, and made clay with the saliva;
and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him,
“Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and
washed, and came back seeing.
There were many other healings of blind people, such as the proof offered to the disciples of John the Baptist when they came to ask for their imprisoned leader, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another? ” (Luke 7:20). The next verse says, “And in that vary hour He cured many people of their infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many who were blind He gave sight.” (See also Matthew 12:22; 15:30, 31; 21:14).
But spiritual blindness is a worse malady than not having physical sight! For being – and remaining – spiritually blind means eternal destruction! Spiritual blindness is one of Satan’s greatest ploys to keep unbelievers in his power. Paul wrote in II Corinthians 4:3 and 4:
…if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds
the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel
of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
Do not be blind to the spiritual truth of the Lord Jesus Christ! As it says in Isaiah 45:22, “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”